* STOXX 600 inches up 0.2 pct
* Oil stocks, miners recover
* Autos, banks under pressure
* Rotork boosted by upgrade
(Adds details, closing prices)
By Kit Rees
LONDON, April 4 The muted start to the second
quarter continued on Tuesday with European shares ending a
choppy session slightly in positive territory as gains in
oil-related stocks and miners more than offset weakness in the
The pan-European STOXX 600 index ended up 0.2
percent, while the resources-heavy FTSE 100 outperformed
and was up 0.5 percent.
"Heading into Q2 there's a lot on the table. There's a lot
of currency risk going on at the moment, which is causing a bit
of market uncertainty, especially in the FTSE and the Euro STOXX
50," said John Moore, trader at Berkeley Capital, referring to
Europe's blue chip index.
Autos were the biggest sectoral losers, down 0.6
percent, with Schaeffler, Peugeot and
Volkswagen leading the sector lower.
Figures for U.S. sales of new vehicles in March at major
carmakers came in below market expectations while investor
worries over the outlook for diesel vehicles has cast a cloud
over European auto stocks.
Banking stocks were also under the cosh, falling 0.4
percent. Spain's Banco Popular extended its slide from
the previous session, taking losses over the past two sessions
to more than 11 percent after the lender announced a restatement
on Monday and said that its CEO is to step down.
Oil stocks were among standout sectoral gainers,
however, rising around 1 percent, rebounding from losses in the
previous session as oil prices rose to a near one-month high on
expectations of a drawdown in U.S. crude and product
inventories. Likewise, basic resources stocks rose 1.5
Broker action boosted individual names, with Rotork
jumping 4.4 percent after JP Morgan raised the valve-control
systems maker to "overweight" from "neutral".
"We believe the group's earnings power has increased and
earnings can significantly exceed previous peaks," analysts at
JP Morgan said in a note.
"Our analysis increases our confidence that end-market
headwinds are easing, the group remains well positioned to
benefit from the recovery and growth opportunities exist outside
of just oil & gas capex."
Belgium biotech firm Galapagos was another top
riser, up 1.9 percent after launching three new phase two
(Reporting by Kit Rees; Additional reporting by Danilo Masoni;
Editing by Andrew Bolton)